Fall 2003
Volume 45, Issue # 1

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Issues archive

The Power of the Branded Differentiator

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

At a time when competitive factors have weakened the power of many storied brands, companies can regain an advantage by acquiring or developing a branded feature, service, program or ingredient. As examples, the author cites Westin Hotels, Krispy Kreme, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and many others.

Making Routine Customer Experiences Fun

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 11 min 

Businesses are increasingly trying to enhance customers’ experiences, but that’s not easy when dealing with scenarios that are inherently routine. The authors relate how three companies — Jordan’s Furniture, Commerce Bank and Stew Leonard’s — have been successful at injecting fun into seemingly neutral environments.

The Future of Corporate Venturing

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

Companies undertake venturing for a variety of reasons. To be successful, they must be clear about their objectives and disciplined in executing the one of four business models most appropriate to achieving them.


How To Do Strategic Supply-Chain Planning

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 16 min 

Few organizations understand the benefits of having tactical planners, who use computer models to optimize the supply chain, in close communication with the senior managers who formulate strategy. The author outlines a planning approach that ensures that critical supply-chain details inform a company’s business strategy and that supply-chain management aligns with the strategic direction.

Making the HR Outsourcing Decision

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 26 min 

Business-process outsourcing is a key trend shaping the future of human resources. Six factors can help companies determine which HR processes to outsource and which to retain.

The Social Side of Performance

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 6 min 

It takes more than superior abilities or expertise to become a high-performing knowledge worker. It takes connections. But high performers are much more than “social butterflies,” say the authors. Effective knowledge workers actively employ three tactics to build deep relationships that will be mutually beneficial over time.


The Limits of Structural Change

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Organizational structure, the authors contend, is increasingly irrelevant to how work is actually done. Citing BP, Duke Power and W.L. Gore and Associates, they demonstrate that it is not formal structure but the adaptability of processes, people and technology that enables companies to build lasting value.

When Crisis Crosses Borders

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 9 min 

Europeans and Americans have traditionally viewed bankruptcy and financial recovery differently. There”s a commitment in the United States to explore options for a “second chance”

In Praise of Honest Pricing

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 13 min 

Companies should spend less time trying to fool customers with hidden charges and devote more effort to competing on differences that really matter, say the authors. Imaginative managers may want to consider how a move toward honest pricing in their industry — such as unit pricing at supermarkets and the U.S. government”s Energy Star program — could help sell more and better products to a loyal customer base.

Unleashing Organizational Energy

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 22 min 

Four types of organizational energy can either stimulate or handicap competitiveness. Companies are learning to identify and focus the kind best suited to their culture and goals.

The Performance Variability Dilemma

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 19 min 

Commanding laggards to “copy exactly” the best practices of performance leaders isn’t always the ideal solution. A balance between uniformity and discretion is optimal.